Release Date: Apr 16, 2013
Record label: Sargent House
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Prog-Rock, Avant-Prog
On 2010 masterpiece Patagonian Rats, the audio science shamans of Tera Melos threw down the gauntlet on what three humans armed with only traditional rock band instrumentation could achieve via the equal application of prodigious technical know-how and boundless creativity. With X'ed Out, the experimental rock trio set a new challenge for themselves: to create minimalist music as filtered through the innovative perspective of their ultra-complex, busier-than-bees-tweaking-on-amphetamines skill set. The result is a stunning balancing act between ingenuity and accessibility.
For a good portion of today, I spent time with the untitled debut album from Tera Melos. Originally released in 2005, (reissued in 2010 by their current label, Sargent House), the album is comprised of eight intellectually conceived instrumental “melodies” that sound more calculated and problematically resolved than composed. Like Yes absorbing Hella; like King Crimson gleaning from Dillinger Escape Plan; like musical refinement and a healthy appreciation for post-hardcore’s often abrasive harmonizing — Tera Melos realizes the importance of adhering to musical complexity and excellence and for maintaining an element of dissent.
Review Summary: Accessibility and technicality intertwined.If I was to say anything about the music of X'ed Out, it would be that it acquaints us with a new and improved style. This is the album when we witness the sound Tera Melos has been struggling to develop, finally reach its culminating fruition. Every sound and concept that's explored here is fabricated and executed with an inspired ingenuity that has been, quite frankly, absent in the band's recent efforts.
Writing music that is equally catchy and technical is a hard bridge to cross and it is rare to find a band that rides that balance as fluently as Sacramento trio Tera Melos do on their fourth official album. Tera Melos continue to showcase their expert playing, but for the first time, they let melodies lead the way. Drugs to the Dear Youth was relentless, but this smart new "attack when necessary" approach gives a wider range of dynamics, and opens up a song like "No Phase" so that the sweet, ambient vocals of guest singer/keyboardist Aurielle Zeitler can shine through without the interference of killer guitar scales and drum fills.
Sacramento trio Tera Melos traffic in genres that are often viewed as the opposite of punk, i.e., prog, math-rock, post-hardcore. But when done properly, these styles generate all of the enthusiasm of punk while turning its traditional logic about formal training on its head: What if your love of music inspires you to train to the point where you can accomplish anything you want? That’s what Tera Melos get at on their fourth album, X’ed Out, a super-collider of genres, riffs and mad rhythms that is often thrilling, occasionally exhausting, and, unlike most chops-based music, never dull. It wasn’t always this way.